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Apple has long been rumored to be in talks with China's biggest wireless provider, but Cupertino's iconic iPhone has yet to make its debut on that network — but the wait may soon be over.
The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that China Mobile Ltd. has announced plans to introduce "a new brand for mobile services" on December 18, which has immediately raised speculation of an iPhone launch on the world's largest wireless network.
According to China Mobile's website, the launch event will take place during the carrier's 4G global partners conference in Guangzhou, with at least one executive confirming that the company will soon offer 4G service for mobile devices, despite China having yet issued the appropriate licenses to do so.
However, such a move would remove the final stumbling block toward Apple being able to finally release its coveted iPhone on the China Mobile, which could give Cupertino a big shot in the arm in its war with Google's Android.
“A deal with China Mobile would give Apple a big boost in the China market as the largest local carrier has the most wealthy subscriber base," remarked Mizuho Securities analyst Marvin Lo. "I estimate that among China Mobile’s more than 700 million mobile subscribers, at least 10 percent or 70 million wealthier ones would be potential customers for iPhones."
China Mobile executives have previously confirmed that the iPhone would only be sold on its network once its 4G service was in place — a limitation that could fade away over the next 30 days or so.
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(Image courtesy of iMore)